2003 Hilux Front Diff Breakages

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 05, 2004 at 23:18
ThreadID: 10313 Views:9178 Replies:11 FollowUps:4
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I have a 2003 Turbo Diesel Hilux which has broken the crown wheel and pinion gears in the front diff (for the second time). The first time the diff was repaired by Western Toyota under warranty, the second time I am told it is NOT covered by warranty as the breakage is due to driver abuse.
Both times the diff has broken I was driving the vehicle up gravel forestry tracks. The first diff breakage occured at approx 12,000km and the second at 20,000km. These are total vehicle km's as per speedo. As the Hilux is a part-time 4WD the approx 4WDing km's per diff prior breaking is about 2000km.
The first diff breakage occured on the 18th may 2003. Brought Hilux to Western Toyota to be repaired. The gentleman at the service desk told me "this was NOT the first case of this problem, there is a weak part in the vehicle. This repair will be covered under warranty". Four days later........the vehicle was repaired.......and
NO CHARGE to me.
The second diff breakage occured on the 8th November 2003. After many visits to Western Toyota and many phone calls to Toyota Australia Customer Service I was not getting any satisfaction. With no evidence presented they kept telling me "you have voided the warranty for repairs due to driver abuse".
As recommended by more than one diff repair specialist I had the broken pinion gear metallurgically analyzed by an independant engineer to determine the cause of failure. To cut a much longer story short the results were that the broken pinion gear has signs of fatigue cracking. The engineer's opinion is that the part had broken due to fatigue and not to driver abuse. With these results Toyota has no comment other than "take legal action", we are not repairing the diff under warranty.
More than two months with my Hilux and a broken front diff, on the 16th January 2004 I picked up my Hilux after PAYING for a complete new front diff fitted by a different Toyota dealer.

12 months ago I thought I was buying an UNBREAKABLE HILUX.....................

Has anyone had or know of similar problems with late model 4 wheel drive Toyotas?
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Reply By: Member - Ross - Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 07:41

Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 07:41

Don't know anything about the Tojo, but why not take the mongrels on in court.

In Qld for example you could have a go at them through the Small Claims Tribunal which costs a pittance in filing fees only ... say $40-$50 and you don't need legal representation.

If, as you say, you have a strong case backed up by expert opinion, the bastards would probably roll over .... wouldn't be very good press for them would it??

Good luckFidei defensor

AnswerID: 45647

Follow Up By: Leroy - Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 09:51

Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 09:51
I think it's terrible that we have to go to these lengths to get "customer satisfaction". It seems everything you buy these days if something goes wrong or you need to exchange something it's a battle.

FollowupID: 307721

Reply By: Leroy - Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 09:56

Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 09:56

I have heard similar reports plus when I was getting a changeover CV I asked the guy about Hilux's and he pointed to a half dozen CV joints on the floor which he just purchased as he cant keep up with the changeover stock!
The front end is apparently the same as the Prado and if you do a search on the forum you will find more information. A club member I know has also been denied a warranty claim by Toyota saying his vehicle was abused when his front diff went.
I have been thinking of a Hilux but the diff/cv failures concern me.

AnswerID: 45660

Reply By: paul - Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 11:51

Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 11:51
There are a number of recorded 3.0L TD front diff breakages on the yahoo 90 series prado site, they investigated a possible class action but there weren't enough to make a real challenge. Consensus was get a front ARB diff lock as it is stronger than the prado front diff.

I think this is the site to post your query:


I have a petrol RV6 prado, have never had a problem with the front diff, knock wood, when and if it does go i'll get a front ARB diff lock installed.
AnswerID: 45682

Follow Up By: Leroy - Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 12:08

Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 12:08
unfortunately crown and pinion is not part of the locker!!

FollowupID: 307735

Reply By: AndrewW - Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 13:10

Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 13:10

Don't know the process to do it, but I would be taking them to court. Even a letter from a lawyer might help. I agree that this shouldn't need to happen, but whatever it takes...

I have a 2002 V6 Hilux and, touch wood, have had no front diff problems. Maybe your original front diff was made on a Friday, and perhaps when they "fixed" it the first time, they didn't do it properly. Surely there would be the repair warranty from the first fix, which should cover the second fix??

Good Luck
AnswerID: 45686

Follow Up By: AndrewW - Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 13:12

Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 13:12
Forgot to say, if I was paying for it, I wouldn't be using a Toyota Service Centre!
FollowupID: 307743

Reply By: Member - Andrew & Jen (Melb) - Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 15:35

Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 15:35
You should write a concise letter detailing your complaint and a summary of the advice of the engineer. Make sure that the letter is well written and gives a clear account of the problem. Set a deadline saying that if this is not resolved to your satisfaction, then you will lodge a claim with small claims by eg. Tuesday 2nd March. I did the same with a problem after 500 phone calls and it sorted out.
Andrew2001 Landcruiser 100S Turbo Diesel
"We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing"
AnswerID: 45705

Reply By: sdc - Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 16:57

Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 16:57
It probably wouldn't hurt to tape a few of toyota's adds to show to the judge as to what toyota say their vehicles can do!!
AnswerID: 45710

Reply By: jeff-wa - Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 18:52

Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 18:52
SDC, you have hit the nail on the head! Not sure about the laws over there, but in WA the ministry of fair trading would have a field day with that. I used to go through the process quite often of dealing with complaints in a previous job. The ads actually state that it is unbreakable, I have often wondered this while watching the ads what they are opening themselves up to, not only that but what they do to their vehicles on the ads, obviously doctored but who cares, you can use that to get the bastards!
Get someone to video tape you going up one of those foresty tracks, play that, then play the ad straight after. Is this really abuse?
This product is not capable of doing what the advertising claims. I would like a refund or repair.
AnswerID: 45727

Reply By: Meggs - Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 22:49

Friday, Feb 06, 2004 at 22:49
Alfred I am not surprised thay asked the question about driver abuse as having two diff's fail in 20000k would be a very rare event indeed. Toyota don't build diffs they just source them from elsewhere and there must be many thousands of diff's in use that are trouble free.
Remember that fatigue can also be caused by overload. I have a 2000 model Hilux not turbo and I have had no trouble but I haven't used my front diff a lot but it was a forestery vehicle so the front diff would have been used a bit before I bought it.
After I got mine it had a louder than normal noise in the gearbox while in neutral so I took it back to Toyota and they scheduled it in for warranty repairs. I took it in on the date required and they "did" the job and my son bought it home as I was away. Three days later I got another call that there were two Hilux,s in for gearboxes one was an older model and they didn't do mine. So back it went and two days later a brand new gearbox.
I just wonder what type of repair you got on the first failure as the failed parts are Toyota's property and you don't know weather you got a repair or a replacement.
AnswerID: 45757

Reply By: markaroo - Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 17:39

Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 17:39
Hi Alfred
bit of bad news.I have a mate who has a new Hilux V6 auto.He took it on a recent trip to Black Duck in Qld with the gang and broke the rear diff.Car had done only 3000km.Toyota have replaced it under warranty.
But get ready for your rear one to go too.

Bit of a downer because now his missus is not keen for the next 4X4 trip.

Lots of luck with Toyota,

AnswerID: 45886

Reply By: Member - DOZER- Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 18:36

Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 18:36
Write that letter to Toyota head office, demand a full refund, as it has not delivered on the unbreakable part of the deal. Let them know you mean business, and that Lawsy is your wifes cousins uncle :-)
Andrewwheredayathinkwer mike?
AnswerID: 45893

Reply By: simon - Monday, Feb 09, 2004 at 11:14

Monday, Feb 09, 2004 at 11:14
Search around is a very common problem with the hilux more so with the petrol ones the front diffs are just weak, if you run bigger tyres than standard the problem is even worse.
Most of the hiluxs you see in comps run different diffs in them norm nissan ones.
One of our club members went thought 3 diffs in 12mths all under warranty sold the car after that, although is in the process of building a comp vech using nissan running gear.
AnswerID: 45967

Follow Up By: Alfred - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2004 at 23:49

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2004 at 23:49
"3 diffs in 12mths all under warrantty"????????????????
was that also a hilux?
what year model?
I have heard of similar diff problems. Trying to locate and contact others with similar problems.
FollowupID: 308292

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